Days of pent-up anxiety after the election gave way to spontaneous street parties when Joe Biden supporters on Saturday cheered the news of his presidential victory with a cacophony of popping pots and pans, honking horns and dance music in cities across the United States.
Meetings of hundreds of supporters of Republican President Donald Trump, who insisted on Saturday “this election is far from over”, were more subdued in size and scope compared to the festive crowds that showed up in thousands in some cities for Biden.
While there were some isolated confrontations between Trump and Biden supporters, as occurred between two opposing groups of 100 each in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, there were no immediate reports of violence or other disturbing behavior.
After a nervous four-day wait for results after the polls closed on Tuesday, the reaction to the news was that Pennsylvania and its 20 constituencies voted Biden across the board almost immediately.
Minutes after major television networks called the race in favor of the former vice president, crowds – most with masks to limit the spread of COVID-19 – flocked to the White House to rejoice outside a security fence as the sound of fireworks blossomed in the distance.
“I was on the bus and got off the bus to get here to the White House,” said Washington resident Donna Thomas. “It’s something to celebrate. We’ve been waiting so long.”
Duane Fitzhugh, 52, a teacher celebrating outside the Trump International Hotel on the Pennsylvania Avenue block of the White House, likened the moment to the abolition of an evil spell.
“It is as if a stool fell over the country four years ago, and we have been waiting for years for it to end,” he said.
In New York City, Biden supporters danced in the streets, cheering and hitting kitchen equipment from balconies, brownstone boats and rooftops – raising Biden campaign signs and American flags in the air.
A planned demonstration in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle turned into a dance party celebrating the election result, while parties at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village danced and splashed in the park’s fountain.
Cheers to anger
Similar scenes were played out in the cities coast to coast – Atlanta, New Orleans to San Francisco, among them – overwhelming what some supporters of Trump had planned as a day of meetings in all 50 state capitals in support of baseless claims that Democrats were looking for to steal the election.
Hundreds of Trump protesters gathered in several cities – from state capitals in several battlefield states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona to such republican strongholds as Colorado Springs, Colorado.
But these meetings were generally smaller in number and size compared to the crowds that turned out to register their joy over Biden’s victory and his running mate, Kamala Harris.
In Los Angeles, protest marches organized in advance by unions and the political activist group Refuse Facism, which demanded that Trump admit defeat, ended with Biden’s victory celebration, filling the center with a crowd of thousands.
At least 2,000 people gathered in the Castro district of San Francisco in a carnival-like atmosphere of dancing, screaming and music shaking from the car stereo.
Some hoisted painted Trump-shaped paper mask with the words “unlock him” scratched on it, along with Biden campaign signs and American and rainbow flags. Even a handful of city officials were seen joining the party.
Biden fans enjoyed unpleasantly warm weather in Philadelphia, cheering, dancing and hugging in the streets. Jada Carter, 23, and her younger sister, Nyla, 11, chanted, “Na-Na, Hey-Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye” on Trump supporters hugging nearby.
Many supporters of Trump and his mate, Vice President Mike Pence, showed their own reluctance to accept the election results.
Hundreds gathered on the steps of the state capital building in Lansing, Michigan, waving Trump-Pence flags to shout “This is not over” and “We will be here forever.”
At the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, tensions were high when the president’s supporters, some carrying firearms, chanted “Trump won” and “We will win in court.” They blamed the news media for declaring Biden the winner. “Media is part of the coup!” shouted one.